L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, December 15, 2017

La Comtesse d'Artois et ses enfants, by Charles Emmanuel Leclercq, 1783.

The comtesse d'Artois, born Maria Teresa of Savoy (31 January 1756, Turin – 2 June 1805, Graz), who I wrote about recently, giving the briefest biography, had four children with her philandering husband, the future Charles X. Their first, Louis Antoine, duc d'Angoulême (6 August 1775, Versailles – 3 June 1844, Gorizia, Austria/Italy) was, for many years after the Revolution, heir presumptive to the Bourbon throne, and dauphin after his father became king in 1824. In 1799 he had been married to his first cousin, Marie Thérèse, the only surviving child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They would have no children.

The comtesse with her younger son, the five-year-old, Charles Ferdinand.

Their second child, Sophie (5 August 1776, Versailles – 5 December 1783, Versailles), was the first Bourbon princess of her generation; Marie Antoinette's first child, Marie Thérèse, would not be born for two more years. The princess would die at the age of seven in the same year that this family portrait was painted.

The elder son, eight-year-old Louis Antoine, and seven-year-old Sophie.

Charles Ferdinand, duc de Berry (24 January 1778, Versailles – 14 February 1820, Paris), was the third child. In 1816, after the Bourbon Restoration, he married Princess Maria-Carolina of Naples, with whom he had four children. (Both of the first two only lived for a day. He also produced numerous illegitimate offspring, both before and after his marriage.) In 1820, leaving the opera with his wife, he was stabbed, mortally wounded, and died the next day. The assassin was a Bonapartist opposed to the restored Bourbon monarchy. Seven months after his death, his wife gave birth to their fourth child, Henri, who is known in history as the comte de Chambord, and who in the view of Legitimists, was rightful heir to the throne of France. (Chambord would marry, but the marriage was childless; with his death in 1883, the legitimate male line of the main branch of the Bourbon monarchy became extinct.)

The fourth child, Marie Thérèse (6 January 1783, Versailles – 22 June 1783, Château de Choisy), died at only five months of age in the same year as this portrait was completed, presumably before it was even begun, as she doesn't appear in the painting.


Charles Emmanuel Joseph Leclercq (1753, Brussels - 1821, Brussels), Flemish artist.  Leclercq - or Le Clercq - was one of the many artists working in Paris on the eve of the Revolution, producing small, highly decorative, but rather insipid and - frankly - often quite crude paintings, mostly portraits and genre scenes. It appears Leclercq studied in Rome from 1777 to 1780, and then worked in Paris from 1783 to 1790; it's likely the Revolution spurred his departure. I've been able to find no other information on this artist.

(Part of the frame seems to be missing in this photograph of the painting.)

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